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10 ways to get the most out of your next yoga retreat

February 19, 2015

get the most out of your next yoga retreat

So you’ve signed up for a yoga retreat, maybe for the first time or maybe you’re a pro, but either way, there is an art of yoga retreating that could help you get the most out of your next yoga retreat.

1. Be in touch

Whether you know the teacher or not, or if you are a yoga teacher or a first time practitioner, be in touch with the yoga teacher.  The beautiful thing about a yoga retreat is that your teacher can really take care of the groups needs and attend to your desires in a more intimate way.  Are you injured? Are you working on something specific?  The more you are in touch with the yoga teacher the more you’ll get out of the experience.

2. Clear your head

In order invite in growth, new friends, peace and quiet, and nature, you need to make space for it!  Start making space by taking care of all of the details that keep you in your head as soon as possible.

– Square things away at work so you don’t have to think about any projects or answer any emails while you’re gone!
– Tell people you’re leaving, put up an auto respond, set boundaries and tell people you won’t get back to them until after you’re back.
– Check to make sure your passport valid.
– Contact your local travel clinic to make sure you have all vaccines.
– Call your credit card company to tell them you’re going out of town.

3. Cultivate an intention

Have you asked yourself why you are really going on retreat? Maybe you need to let go of controlling everything, maybe you need space from work, maybe you want to be in nature, maybe you want to sleep better than you ever have and fall back in love with waking up…

Spend some time thinking about what you would like to get out of it, what you would like to work on in your practice, what you would like to let go of in your life.

Now, expect that to change once you arrive. We often have ideas of what we are going on retreat for but once we remove ourselves from the day to day of our busy lives, remove ourselves from our patterns we might find that we find an intention that we didn’t know we needed.

4. Pack well

Bringing some basics can help you feel like you are taking care of yourself and create a safe environment, especially when traveling to a new country. Having the right things on retreat allows you to turn the “fight/flight” response off and really sink into your experience.  We see yoga retreats as a way giving our participants  tools for life to carry around in their backpack, but the more important teaching is how we carry ourselves when our backpack goes missing.  In other words, this list is incredibly useful, but we encourage you not to depend on it!

Check out our “Yoga Retreat Packing List”

5. Research where you are going

Not only will this help you figure out exactly what you’ll need to bring and ear, but you’ll get way more out of your experience if you are able to plan excursions as soon as you get there or even before.  When you wait until last minute to figure out what you want to do it may not be possible anymore!

6.  Travel Kindly

Your trip begins before you arrive so start taking care of yourself before you go!

– Don’t wait until last minute to pack.
– Get as much sleep as you can before the trip,
– Get there early.  Getting there a night before or early in the day allows you to settle in and be as ready as possible for the retreat to start. It takes time to shed the stress of work and city life, give yourself time.
– Don’t take the crazy flight to save $100, you’ll probably end up spending that much in transport once you arrive or in a hotel when you arrive somewhere in the middle of the night.  I’ve seen people take crazy flights and then it takes them a couple of days to actually settle into the retreat!
– Take a day off before going back to work – not only will you be so grateful once you arrive back home, but your last day on retreat will be so much more relaxed knowing that you don’t have to go into work the next day.

7.  Honor your needs

This is your yoga retreat.  We always encourage our guests to participate in as many classes as possible, but we also invite our participants to do whatever they need to get the most out of their retreat.  If that means not going to every single yoga class, or skipping a meal, do it!  If it means getting a massage instead of going on a hike, indulge. If it means going diving instead of reading a book, dive in!  It’s our job as retreat coordinators to give you what we think is the perfect balance of yoga, rejuvenation and adventure, but more importantly to create an experience where you are empowered to listen to your heart and take care of your needs.

8. Go with the flow

Yoga is not about holding onto old patterns and forcing them to serve you, so don’t try to recreate your normal environment on retreat. The things that might make you feel uncomfortable that show up during travel or even during a yoga practice are the things that end up being your biggest teacher.  When you feel frustrated because the surf instructor is 20 minutes late because you are in Nicaragua and not NYC, check in with yourself and see if you can give yourself permission to go with the flow.  When the power goes out because it’s rainy season in Costa Rica, can you embrace the beauty of candlelight instead of getting upset?

9. Take it with you

A yoga retreat isn’t meant to be an isolated event in your life. It is meant to be a concentrated infusion and inspiration for your life. If nothing you learn or feel on retreat can be integrated into your life, then something is wrong.  We think of a yoga retreat as a way of discovering the self and lifting the barriers that prevent us from truly embodying who we really are.  Embodying your true self will inevitably flow beyond your retreat experience, but before you leave, cultivate an intention that you will take with you and think about ways that you can integrate the things you’ve learned and the way that you’re being on retreat, back home.

Stay in touch – keeping in touch is a great reminder of the experience you had and a wonderful way to keep the flame of your intention alive.

10.  Retreat again!

Go on another retreat! At YOGASCAPES we believe that yoga retreats (i.e. trips that change your life) don’t need to be occasional adventures that you only take when you are in a transition.  We believe that having life changing experiences should be routine, not the other way around, so travel more, retreat often and join us on one of our next escapes!

Check out all of our Upcoming Retreats Here!

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